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Letters to Two Friends

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LETTERS TO TWO FRIENDS, by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, constitutes seminal volumes for THE PERSPECTIVES IN HUMANISM SERIES. These letters, written by Father Teilhard to American friends, describe the author's daily life and the development of his thought. In this way a kind of "journal" has been created- a journal extending from 1926 to 1952, throughout almost all of Father Teilhard's life as a scientist and as a priest. The letters come from Peking, Paris, and Rome. They mark Father Teilhard's periodic exile and yet permit us to follow the story of his inner life almost month by month. The spontaneity of his tone and the depth and quality of his feelings and thoughts make these letters a unique document. The first letters date from 1926, when Father Teilhard left his professorship at the Catholic Institute in Paris to lead the life of an explorer in the Far East. This period was one of the most difficult of his life. "I would prefer Tientsin to the Catholic Institute," he wrote to a friend when he embarked for China in 1923. But his second departure in 1926 had something of the aspect of a disgrace. He had been removed from Paris by his superiors, to whom he had been denounced for propagating dubious ideas and who feared a censure that would be prejudicial both to the career of the young paleontologist and to the good name of the Order. Father Teilhard obeyed in a spirit of faith, but without compromising his principles. A profound change subsequently took place in his scientific vision of the world. Until then he was passionately interested in the study of prehistory, he now lost his taste for the past. He doubted both his religious vocation and his scientific calling.
Yet Father Teilhard always held that "everything that happens is worthy of adoration."
"Truly" he wrote, "there is a Christian note which makes the whole World vibrate like an immense gong, in the divine Christ." One of the arresting elements of this collection is its juxtaposition of the social upheavals of our epoch with the story of a man's steady spiritual growth. Father Teilhard gives a sharply focused picture of the world in which he lives, whether it be China in the midst of civil war or the France of the 30's under the threat of approaching war, and at the same time portrays the evolution of his inner world, which found final expression in The Phenomenon of Man and The Divine Milieu.
Although his struggle to persuade the Church to grant him publication of his major works was doomed to failure in his lifetime, Father Teilhard's allegiance to his Church and to his Order are reflected in these letters. Here we encounter an intellect attempting to reconcile science and religion, evolution and Christianity -a vision that united spirit and matter in a universal process of being and becoming. This volume includes a striking profile of Father Teilhard by his friend and religious superior, the Reverend Rene d'Ouince, S.J., and an assessment of Teilhard as a scientist by the eminent geneticist, Theodosius Dobzhansky.
The rest of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's books:
1. On Love and Happiness - http://www.archive.org/details/onlovehappiness000499mbp
2. Man's Place in Nature - http://www.archive.org/details/MansPlaceInNature
3. Letters from a Traveler - http://www.archive.org/details/LettersFromATraveller
4. Hymn of the Universe - http://www.archive.org/details/HymnOfTheUniverse
5. Heart of Matter - http://www.archive.org/details/HeartOfMatter
6. Human Energy - http://www.archive.org/details/HumanEnergy
7. Writings in Time of War - http://www.archive.org/details/WritingsInTimeOfWar
8. Letters to Two Friends - http://www.archive.org/details/LettersToTwoFriends
9. Vision of the Past - http://www.archive.org/details/VisionOfThePast
10. The Divine Milieu - http://www.archive.org/details/TheDivineMilieu
11. The Appearance of Man - http://www.archive.org/details/TheAppearanceOfMan
12. The Making of a Mind - http://www.archive.org/details/TheMakingOfAMind
13. Letters to Leontine Zanta - http://www.archive.org/details/LettersToLeontineZanta
14. Toward the Future - http://www.archive.org/details/TowardTheFuture
15. The Future of Man - http://www.archive.org/details/TheFutureOfMan
16. Science and Christ - http://www.archive.org/details/ScienceAndChrist
17. The Phenomenon of Man - http://archive.org/details/ThePhenomenonOfMan
18. Let Me Explain - http://www.archive.org/details/LetMeExplain
19. Christianity and Evolution - http://www.archive.org/details/ChristianityAndEvolution
20. The Letters of Teilhard de Chardin and Lucille Swan - http://www.archive.org/details/TheLettersOfTeilhardDeChardinAndLucilleSwan
21. Activation of Energy - http://www.archive.org/details/ActivationOfEnergy
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